Climb away from Capileira and into the National Park to enjoy a section of untouched nature and brilliant views, before descending through charming, car-less villages and countryside tamed with terraced fields and remarkable irrigation projects.
The climb starts straight out of Capileira as you drag your way up steep slopes and away from Poqueira Gorge. Before you round the hill and leave the gorge behind you are gifted wonderful views back to the three precarious villages of Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira, all climaxing in the spectacle from ‘Mirador (viewpoint) Tajos del Ángel’, which overlooks all three at once, as well as a wide swathe of the Sierra Nevada mountains and even the Mediterranean Sea.
Continue through the National Park following a brown ribbon of the trail which cuts through dense bush and shrub and provides a lofty sensation as you peek down on the villages of the Trevelez Valley, and the impressive mountain backdrop which dwarfs them. You will be sleeping in one of these villages tonight!
After beginning your descent, you’ll hear it before you see it - water! Clever irrigation projects funnel natural water from the mountains and dissipate it between the various farms and households, which allows these villages to survive and thrive.
The village plaza is the place for locals to congregate, so why not stop for a drink in the plaza in Pitres. The nearby church, like many churches in the region, was previously a mosque during the Moorish period.
There are some exposed and unfenced edges throughout the walk; be careful and remain on the path.
There are several stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement. Walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic unless there is a sharp left bend, in which case you should cross to the outside edge to allow drivers the maximum time to see you.
Some of the paths are around rocky steps; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.
Tips, hints and links
Points of Interest
Threshing Floor ‘Era’
Many villages have a communal threshing floor to separate their grain. You will normally find these flat, wide areas just outside the village in an area exposed to the wind. Today you will pass one just before reaching Mecina. There is another slightly to the north of Capileira, which you can visit before beginning the hike.
Casa Museo Pedro Antonio de Alarcón
Pedro Antonio de Alarcón chronicled his travels through this region in his 1872 book, La Alpujarra. The museum provides details of his life and exhibits relics from the Poqueira Gorge region. The museum is just south of the church, where the hike begins.
Food and Drink
After leaving Capileira your first opportunity to buy food or drink comes in Pitres after 8 kilometres. There are a variety of cafes and restaurants centred around the plaza and church.
Mecina, after 9 kilometres, also has a few cafes and restaurants.
Book recommendations for this region:
Sturdy hiking boots and a waterproof/wind-break layer are required. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of the steep ascents and descents.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
Make sure you bring enough water. It is recommended to drink 0.75 litres per 1 hour of hiking in hot weather.
Be sure to bring plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.